Ivan Golunov
© Global Look Press / City News Moskva
Ivan Golunov
Last summer, his detention on bogus drug charges rocked the world of Russian media, leading to an unprecedented show of journalistic unity.

Now, investigators have detained five ex-police officers who are accused of fabricating the case against Ivan Golunov, a reporter for Riga-based online publication Meduza.

The former members of the Moscow Police's drug trafficking control department are currently being interrogated, according to Svetlana Petrenko, the official representative of Russia's Investigative Committee. The detainees were removed from their posts last July in the immediate fallout from the controversial incident. President Vladimir Putin also dismissed two high-ranking Interior Ministry officials over the case.

Golunov was arrested in June 2019 after police officers claimed to have found the drug mephedrone in his backpack. The reporter claimed the narcotics were planted on him. Five days later, following a national outcry, all charges were dropped.

Earlier this month, Golunov's lawyer Sergey Badamshin revealed that police officially recognized him as a "victim," and on January 20 he was summoned for questioning. Badamshin added that Golunov refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Golunov told newspaper RBK that he was satisfied with the decision to detain the suspects and said he is looking forward to the start of the criminal case. He also explained that he learned about the arrests from media coverage and had no additional information about the identities of the police officers.

Today's detentions were flagged in December, when Putin disclosed during a live press conference that five law enforcement officers were under suspicion.

The five detainees have been named as former Moscow drug cops Denis Konovalov, Akbar Sergaliev, Roman Feofanov, and Maxim Umetbaev, as well as the former head of the department Igor Lyakhovets.